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Crossroad Angels: The Next Chapter

12/19/2016
Deborah Hadfield gives us all an early Christmas present. We proudly present the newest material from her novel, Crossroad Angels, told in her own intimate style, full of feeling and power. Enjoy.
WZ's own BookSlam Angel.

WZ's own BookSlam Angel.

There are key moments in life when we are forced to choose who and how we will be.

Standing at the crossroads, meeting an angel, can change our direction for the better.

Sometimes the angel we need to meet is within us. The small quiet voice which whispers. I often ask for huge, loud neon signs. But sometimes it is in the silence, in the absolute stillness, that we find our way. Because it is in those moments we can find ourselves.

Crossroad Angels tells three stories, which are woven together. Each relies on the other to shine a spotlight on truth and magic.

The stories tie together to focus on how to find the three most important things in life.

1 Corinthians 13 says:

'And now these three remain. Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.'


Tracy Scott is a British special services commander, investigating a plane crash with Irish investigator Colm Donald.

Sarah's story is told by Irish journalist Diane Harris, in her book.

 

SARAH

 

The fat silver moon hangs low. Too idle to climb to stars beckoning in the turquoise sky.

A precious summer's day reluctant to surrender to the night.

Two friends walk in the shadow of a deserted cathedral.

Lost in chatter and laughter. Giggling like teenagers.

In just one moment everything changes. Time stands still.

Sarah Stevens is struck silent. Her friend David Roberts shocks her.

No questions, no permission, no answer required.

By taking her hand, his heart has spoken words his mind dare not.

She stops. Releases her hand. Turns to him.

His head is bowed, fearing he has gone too far. At over six feet he is almost a foot taller than her. She rests her head on his chest.

'You heart feels crazy fast,' she says.

He nods. Wraps his arms around her.

As a friend he's held her a hundred times. Now he needs more.

She slips her arms around his waist. Is this friendship, lust, love?

Lifting her head she seeks his eyes for answers. Her smile encourages him.

Their lips are now inches apart. Her breath gives him goosebumps.

He hesitates still.

Throaty sound of a powerful engines breaks the silence. Headlights dazzle them as the convertible speeds towards them.

Time speeds up. It's too close. It's too fast. It might hit them.

A million thoughts in one second.

His brain can't make sense of what's happening. Confusion, fear, anger, and utter panic.

She is calm, clear and every part of her being is frozen.

He tries to push her to safety. Too late.

The car hits them.

In that moment they become ghosts.

Sarah opens her eyes. Breathes a sigh of relief.

Sitting in the passenger seat she smiles at the driver.

Frances says:'Did that answer your question about what might happen if you chose to be with David?'

'Seriously! I need more time. It didn't help that you seem determined to kill me?' Sarah says.

'There are a million ways to die. I'm just answering your questions.'

'Some guardian angel you are. Technically you promised to show me what would happen if I live, not die.'

'The only certainty in life is death.' Frances replies.

'You might have waited until we kissed!'

'You had all the time in the world together. Why were you wasting it?' asks Frances.

'I wasn't sure it was the right thing.'

'Why? How did it feel?'

'I don't really trust my feelings. It's hard to have faith when I've been hurt before.'  Sarah says.

'What don't you have faith in?'

'How long do you have?'

'That's not a a real answer. I won't answer any more of yours until you are honest.'

Sarah searches her heart and soul for honesty.

Her mind fights for clarity. She fears speaking the words gives them power.

France's stops the car by a large lake. The moon's blurred reflection fills the water.

She kills the engine. Silent, peaceful, calming.

Sarah struggles to fill the silence with the truth. France's waits patiently.

'I have no faith in anything.' Sarah stammers.

'Why?'

'No faith in God? No faith those who love you? No faith in yourself?' Whispers Frances.

Sarah shakes her head.

'Faith isn't a magic solution. It's trusting. Trusting that God has a plan. Trusting love can be real. Most of all it is trusting yourself. Have faith in yourself.'

'None of that has worked out well for me in the past.'

'Really? Yet here you are with the chance to ask any question about your life. Isn't that proof that having faith can give you a second chance?'

'You always have a million questions. You're my angel, why can't you just wave a magic wand and show me the best way?'

'Only by finding your own answers will you learn to have faith in yourself.'

 

TRACY


Colm yanks the thick black leather belt.

Tightly squeezing Tracy's neck.

She can't speak.

Can hardly breathe.

Her pupils dilating in fear.

Despite her icy determination a tear escapes from her eye.

She refuses to make any sound.

Every inch of her body is bound.

Only her lips are exposed.

A single candle crackles, casting long shadows as Colm completes his task.

She is no longer Commander Scott. In charge of British high level security investigations.

He is no longer an agent of the Irish Government.

She is his victim.

He is in total control.

Sweat rolls down his brow as his excitement rises.

If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then he is beyond any redemption known to this world.

Now words might be her only protection.

Yet she chooses not to defend herself. She chooses defiant silence.

In just a minute he takes her. Furious, fast and no feeling.

Her phone rings.

'Release me.'

'You know what to say.

'Hope' she said.

It triggers a switch within him. Now he is the obedient one.

Clothes don't interest her. The blood, bruises, sweat and evidence of his pleasure don't disturb her.

'Send me the files to his computer now,' she said.

He opened the laptop, offering it to her.

Still naked, she scans without losing her focus.

Reading avidly, she ignores him.

'Come on, that was pretty spectacular,' he said.

'It was your game, not mine. Your fun, not mine. I played along, as that's our deal,' she said.

'Didn't you enjoy it?'

'Why do you use HOPE as your safe word?'

'It is the word neither of us having any use for.'

'You don't think I have any hope?'

'Not an ounce in that sexy body. That's why I wanted you. We're the same. Lost souls not fooled by the fake promise of hope.'

'Is hope a luxury we can't afford in our line of work? Or a necessity for people who need to believe in something better?'

She was asking herself more than him. Neither had answers.

Colm called up files marked Diane Harris's diary on his laptop.

'A deal's a deal. Are you ready for your next instalment?'

Tracy lights up like an addict offered a fix.

She devours the words like heroin.

 

LOVE - Diane Harris' diary.


Even now I'm not sure what happened.

He surprised me with an offer to take me for lunch at my office.

One moment we were admiring the boats on the Liffey, the next our world fell apart.

It started with a silly fight.

When I looked at the odd message on the screen of his phone, George got angry in a way I've never seen before.

All I asked for was the truth.

It was the first time he'd ever sworn and truly meant it.

I threatened to throw his phone in the river unless he let me ready the message.

'Don't you fucking dare!' he shouted.

He took it from me, not caring if he was hurting me at all.

Reading it and replying to it was more important than how much he was hurting me with his rough words and hands.

Whatever the contents were, he suddenly snapped in to military mode. He wanted to go. Didn't want to talk. Didn't want to go out to eat. Just wanted to return to my office. Get my things and go home to talk.

The more he insisted, the more I refused.

My Irish Rebel blood doesn't take kindly to being ordered about.

Things escalated as I lost control of my feelings totally.

The colder and more insistent he became, the more I could not control anything. Except the desire to smash his phone into a million pieces. Or see it at the bottom of the Liffey.

What secrets did it hide?

Then he used the ultimate emotional blackmail.

'If you truly love me, you will trust me.'

I was in no mood to be handled.

My reply was sharp. 'If you love me, you'll prove it.'

His obsession with looking at his watch irritated me even further.

Grabbing my hand to force me to march to my office made it worse.

I stormed off furious that he was man-handling me like that.

At my office, I asked him to leave. He refused.

He wouldn't leave without me.

In front of my colleagues he made me look foolish. My editor Jeremy stepped in. Suggested we both leave.

He was on his way out to a private meeting with a source. No time to play peacemaker. No time for politeness either.

When I tried to argue he ordered us both out of the office immediately.

I felt like a scolded child.

Standing outside in front of the newspaper office, I stopped again. Jeremy had left us alone.

George was frantic in his need to win the argument.

I only have fragments of what happened next.

A bang so loud it burst my ear drums.

Sting of glass hitting my cheek.

Smack of my head as it hit the cobbled stones.

George had thrown me to the ground.

His body on top of mine, keeping me down.

Crack after crack of explosions and gun fire.

Everything after that was a blur.

Later in hospital the doctor explained I was lucky.

In my mind, getting blown up and shot at isn't lucky.

He said a George probably saved my life. It might have cost him his too if he hadn't reacted quickly.

Who knew an argument might give him the chance to prove he loved me so deeply he would risk his own life.

He told me protecting me wasn't a conscious choice. It was an instinct. In less than a second his mind had chosen my safety over his.

It wasn't romantic. It wasn't roses. It was real. It was love of the most practical kind.

The kind that saved my life.

The truest kind of love?

Is this true love or just a soldier's instinct?